Jarvis Praises Hillary’s Web Video, Pans McCain’s

It used to be the only place I’d hear media pundit Jeff Jarvis on the radio was when he’d call Howard Stern’s show. Lately, though he seems to be all over the radiowaves. I’m pretty sure I heard him on Public Radio International’s Marketplace the other night, and last night he appeared on a new PRI show called Fair Game with Faith Salie. There, he got a few plugs for his new PrezVid blog, and shared a few thoughts about how political campaigns have been using Web video.

As far as Jarvis is concerned: Hillary’s got it and McCain don’t.

Most likely referring to her early “Let the Conversation Begin” vids, Jarvis said Hillary appears to be speaking with the viewer one-on-one. “It’s talking to one person at a time,” he added. Also, he thinks the room she’s in looks like the Oval office. (I guess Monica would know.)

On Obama, Jarvis said during Fair Game that he sounds almost like a preacher in his site’s video, “but it’s still kind of too big for the Internet,” he continued, contrasting it with the homier, more intimate feeling evoked by Hillary’s video.

Then there’s McCain, whom Jarvis said, “doesn’t get it yet…he tries to be too showbiz-y.” Components of some of the videos on McCain’s site present him against a completely white background.

“What is it with that bizarre, antiseptic all-white setting…you look like you’re trying out for Star Wars,” quipped Jarvis on his PresVid site. Back on the radio show, he did seem to give the McCain camp kudos for asking users to post questions for him to YouTube — sort of. “What’s cool about that is we’ll be able to see the questions he doesn’t answer,” he commented.

Jarvis doesn’t seem so sure about what the Hillary camp, other online campaigns and consultants (and himself) have been saying forever about the Web allowing for conversations between candidates and voters (or companies and consumers). He chided McCain for looking away from the camera as though he’s being interviewed rather than speaking directly to the viewer; however, when Salie asked him whether online campaigns really are conversations, or whether it’s all a “bunch of baloney,” Jarvis cut the conversation rhetoric.

“Campaigns are never conversations; they’re necessarily propaganda,” he said. “Nonetheless, it’s the chance to see the candidate in a new light…and I think that is more human and we get the chance to talk back, too.”

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